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Subject: Chinese Civil War Variant and Optional Cards rss

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mak
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I bought the Deluxe Edition a few months back and i am really confused with this Chinese Civil War Variant thing. Does it really make the game better? All i see that it does is make life difficult for the Soviets. As for the Optional Cards they do spice things up but they mostly favour the Americans. Especially Norad shifts the balance. As a result, in most games i have played with the American side i won pretty easily. I don't get all these people who say that the Soviets are more powerful. They are not. Especially if they dont have a heads up of at least 12 points by the end of Round 3, they are doomed. And even so i remember 2 plays when i was down by 17 points and later in the game i easily made a comeback and won. So what do you old-timers say? How can i balance the game? Should i play without the Optional Cards? (p.s. My playmate isn't a fool, he is good and smart but he just can't keep up when he plays with the Soviets)
 
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Björn von Knorring
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I don´t understand the chinese civil war either. IMHO it is hard to justify for USSR to place IP in China so that events that favour USA more than USSR are activated.

In regards to your other question I do believe that USSR are favoured by maybe 55-45%-win rate or so. But it takes some time to get the hang of everything. I suggest you visit www.wargameroom.com to get more training and get properly smashed by some good USSR-players:-D
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Daniel Hogetoorn
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I've never played with CCW too, but as I read the rules, it certainly shouldn't be played together with the optional cards, since that will favour the Americans too much. So in fact it is a method to balance the second edition which normally is done by giving the US 3 extra IP. Instead of that it will cost the USSR 3 IP (and they've got the advantage that the US is not able to score 4 VP by playing Middle East Scoring in the first headline anymore).

To react on Bjorns comment. As USSR it can be certainly worth to activate China by placing 3 IPs there. Why? There are several reasons. Let's start with the main problem, DEFCON suicide cards:

The deck is full of American DEFCON suicide cards. More than once per game you have the need to keep 2 cards in your hand. Without the China Card you can't arrange this. The US don't face this problem (only The Lone Gunman is dangerous). So only this would be a reason for me to get the China Card as soon as possible.

Then the rules:

- The Red Scare/Purge event can't be played by the Russians (but can be played by the Americans). Canceling this ban gives the USSR more options and playing this event is very useful most of the time.

- Cultural Revolution can't be played as an event. The event on itself is not that important, but facing the main problem described at the start of this post, this event is very useful to solve a problematic DEFCON hand.

- An extra -1 die roll modifier on Korean War. This is a bit irritating, but not that important. Probably the US will be more motivated to play it without taking Japan or Taiwan first, which gives you more or less the same chances on success. If they decide to take these countries first, most Russian players will put 4 IP into S.Korea anyway.

- Formosan Resolution can't be played as an event. In fact this could be the only reason not to activate China, but I don't think it's a good one. Normally I also play this event as the Russian player, because most US players don't keep the China Card to hold on to the Formosan Resolution and there are even less US players actually taking Taiwan (even when Formosan Resolution is in effect).

- When the US play Ussuri River Skirmish or Nixon plays the China Card as an event, they are supposed to hold the China Card. Now this is really a problem. The Ussuri River Skirmish event is very strong, especially when the US is holding the China Card, which is always true if USSR don't activate it. The 2 VP of Nixon are hurting a bit, but not that much. However, for me another reason to activate China.

Note that the above is just a summary of my basic approach of the game. I can certainly think of scenarios that I will wait with activating the China Card, since I need to react on opponent's actions or I don't see direct danger in my hand. But in general I think it's a nice way of balancing the second edition. It's time that I play it once ;-)
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Adam Cirone
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As DeDaan has written, playing influence into the Chinese Civil War is about more than activating events: the China Card is very important for handling DEFCON suicide cards and other troublesome events.

Regarding balance, I think that between players who are still learning strategies, the game is relatively balanced, with lucky dice rolls or card draws having a bigger impact if they favor the USSR player (in other words, the USSR is more likely to win if luck goes his way, while the US player is just likely to enter the Mid War in a better state).

However, if both players are very experienced, I think the USSR has a definite advantage because it is much stronger in the Early War. The Chinese Civil War, Optional Cards, and extra US starting influence (though not in the rulebook) are methods of making the game more balanced. Players can use any of them that they see fit, though using more than one will probably cause an imbalance in favor of the US player.
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Daniel Hogetoorn
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I also think that the game is balanced, even without giving the US extra IP, optional cards or Chinese Civil War. Of course there are loads of statistics trying to point out a USSR advantage, but as the writer of this thread already said, he thinks the US is way stronger. So, all results have more to do with the players' skills (or their lack of it) and the power of their opponents. Looking at the results of the ETSL, it's stunning how easily the best players win versus their less skilled opponent, even if their die rolls and hands are unlucky. I don't think any variant will really change this. That's why I don't believe in the balance statistics. The only way to know which side is stronger is when two exactly evenly skilled players play eachother about thousand times without making any strategic mistakes and with exactly the same amount of successful or unsuccessful die rolls, etc. Alas, impossible. So that's why I don't care about the variant I play. I always let my opponent choose, since in my opinion skill is the key in playing Twilight Struggle, not the variant or the extra IP at the start...

 
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Björn von Knorring
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Of course Defcon-status is important but since USSR has the option to activate China only when necessary I would assume that in most games China would remain unactivated. There is little point in activating China "just in case".

But usually I regard rules that limits the option of the games to be negative (with CCW-variant Nixon cannot be played by USA for the events etc which limits the game)
 
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mak
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Quote:
So, all results have more to do with the players' skills (or their lack of it) and the power of their opponents

Like i said, we are equally smart and experienced by now. After 20 plays we have got the hang of it and know the various strategies. However after 20 plays i have won about 15 times and my playmate about 5 and those victories came in Early War. That is why i think the US is stronger, especially with the Optional Cards (like i said Norad is a blast)
 
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Daniel Hogetoorn
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And what are the numbers when you play USSR and your friend plays US?

Makis mou wrote:
Quote:
So, all results have more to do with the players' skills (or their lack of it) and the power of their opponents

Like i said, we are equally smart and experienced by now. After 20 plays we have got the hang of it and know the various strategies. However after 20 plays i have won about 15 times and my playmate about 5 and those victories came in Early War. That is why i think the US is stronger, especially with the Optional Cards (like i said Norad is a blast)
 
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Daniel Hogetoorn
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Like I said, Ussuri and Nixon can be played for their events (just not to steal the China Card, but they get the 4 IP in Asia or the 2 VP). However, I agree with you that I also prefer to play with the standard rules (with optionals, no extra influence for US). I think that's balanced enough ;-)

myth1202 wrote:
Of course Defcon-status is important but since USSR has the option to activate China only when necessary I would assume that in most games China would remain unactivated. There is little point in activating China "just in case".

But usually I regard rules that limits the option of the games to be negative (with CCW-variant Nixon cannot be played by USA for the events etc which limits the game)
 
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mak
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DeDaan wrote:
And what are the numbers when you play USSR and your friend plays US?

Makis mou wrote:
Quote:
So, all results have more to do with the players' skills (or their lack of it) and the power of their opponents

Like i said, we are equally smart and experienced by now. After 20 plays we have got the hang of it and know the various strategies. However after 20 plays i have won about 15 times and my playmate about 5 and those victories came in Early War. That is why i think the US is stronger, especially with the Optional Cards (like i said Norad is a blast)

I always pick the US
 
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Evgeny Reznikov
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Makis mou wrote:
Quote:
So, all results have more to do with the players' skills (or their lack of it) and the power of their opponents

Like i said, we are equally smart and experienced by now. After 20 plays we have got the hang of it and know the various strategies. However after 20 plays i have won about 15 times and my playmate about 5 and those victories came in Early War. That is why i think the US is stronger, especially with the Optional Cards (like i said Norad is a blast)

Well, sorry, but I suppose it's fair to assume that you're still not at the level of the players who regularly win TS tournaments, and the consensus among them AFAIK is that the USSR is plenty strong (slightly but significantly stronger than the US without the optional cards, and perhaps still slightly stronger with the optionals).

You're probably in the phase where you know how to play one side better than the other, and that side seems stronger to you now. The USSR requires a completely different strategy than the US, and you're probably a bit behind the other side on that.
 
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Jay Sachs
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Makis mou wrote:
DeDaan wrote:
And what are the numbers when you play USSR and your friend plays US?

Makis mou wrote:
Quote:
So, all results have more to do with the players' skills (or their lack of it) and the power of their opponents

Like i said, we are equally smart and experienced by now. After 20 plays we have got the hang of it and know the various strategies. However after 20 plays i have won about 15 times and my playmate about 5 and those victories came in Early War. That is why i think the US is stronger, especially with the Optional Cards (like i said Norad is a blast)

I always pick the US


That would make it problematic to make any conclusions about the balance of any asymmetric game. It's very possible that just you're a better player than your opponent. Or, more precisely, that you're a better US player than your opponent is a USSR player. Before drawing general conclusions, you should at least play against more opponents.

However, if you only intend to play against your current opponent, with you always choosing US, then your conclusions are likely valid in that restricted arena -- for the time being.
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Daniel Hogetoorn
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Makis mou wrote:
Quote:
So, all results have more to do with the players' skills (or their lack of it) and the power of their opponents

Like i said, we are equally smart and experienced by now. After 20 plays we have got the hang of it and know the various strategies. However after 20 plays i have won about 15 times and my playmate about 5 and those victories came in Early War. That is why i think the US is stronger, especially with the Optional Cards (like i said Norad is a blast)


Just a quick question. I also think Norad is a very nice card, but it's certainly not game decisive all the time. Are you sure you play this event correctly? For example, I heard from somebody that they first thought that the US could place 1 IP in each country where they have influence instead of only in one of them.
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mak
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DeDaan wrote:
Makis mou wrote:
Quote:
So, all results have more to do with the players' skills (or their lack of it) and the power of their opponents

Like i said, we are equally smart and experienced by now. After 20 plays we have got the hang of it and know the various strategies. However after 20 plays i have won about 15 times and my playmate about 5 and those victories came in Early War. That is why i think the US is stronger, especially with the Optional Cards (like i said Norad is a blast)


Just a quick question. I also think Norad is a very nice card, but it's certainly not game decisive all the time. Are you sure you play this event correctly? For example, I heard from somebody that they first thought that the US could place 1 IP in each country where they have influence instead of only in one of them.

No, i play it correctly, i only place one influence in only one country where i already have influence.
 
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Daniel Hogetoorn
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Makis mou wrote:
DeDaan wrote:
Makis mou wrote:
Quote:
So, all results have more to do with the players' skills (or their lack of it) and the power of their opponents

Like i said, we are equally smart and experienced by now. After 20 plays we have got the hang of it and know the various strategies. However after 20 plays i have won about 15 times and my playmate about 5 and those victories came in Early War. That is why i think the US is stronger, especially with the Optional Cards (like i said Norad is a blast)


Just a quick question. I also think Norad is a very nice card, but it's certainly not game decisive all the time. Are you sure you play this event correctly? For example, I heard from somebody that they first thought that the US could place 1 IP in each country where they have influence instead of only in one of them.

No, i play it correctly, i only place one influence in only one country where i already have influence.


OK, happy to read that. If you and/or your friend would like some insight tips or feedback regarding strategies, I strongly advice reading the Twilight Strategy weblog of Edward.
 
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mak
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Who is Edward, precious?
 
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Daniel Hogetoorn
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Sorry, he's one of the forum guys. Here's his weblog: http://twilightstrategy.com/
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